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Even more Labor lies



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Media Release

The Hon Joe Hockey MP Shadow Treasurer Coalition Campaign Spokesman

Thursday 29 August 2013

Even more Labor lies

What a surprise, a desperate Labor with nothing positive to say claims the Coalition has a “black hole” in its costings. It is dead wrong.

The big problem for Labor is that the Coalition’s costings have been verified by the Independent Parliamentary Budget Office, the entity that Labor itself established.

The fact that one of the key documents Labor used to mount its shrill attack expired on 14 May 2013 says it all.

The Coalition stands by all its numbers.

The Government which has got all of its figures wrong for six years is now getting the Coalition’s figures wrong.

The Coalition is engaged in the most comprehensive and methodical costings exercise ever done by an Opposition. It has involved the use of the independent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) established by the Government, and also an independent panel of three of Australia’s most respected and experienced experts in public finance and administration.

Fiscal versus cash

The Coalition is presenting its savings and policy spends on a fiscal basis.

This is the recommended accounting treatment in accordance with the Government Finance Statistics.

It is the approach recommended by the independent Expert Panel of Review.

Budget information on policy measures are presented in Budget Paper No 2 and all Portfolio Budget Statements on this basis.

Fiscal information provides the most accurate economic portrayal of the underlying transactions. It abstracts from the money shuffling and tricky assumptions which this Government has made into an art form.

The fiscal Budget bottom line is not consistently better or worse than cash, it is just different.

The Coalition has already stated that it will present its final policy costings on a fiscal basis, consistent with the Budget presentation, but we will footnote material differences between the fiscal and cash estimates for both revenue and expenses.

These figures will confirm that the Budget position will be better under the Coalition than under Labor on both a fiscal and cash basis.

Labor’s False Claims

Labor’s claim of a $10 billion hole in the Coalition costings is wrong. For example:

1. Business Compensation Measures resulting from the abolition of the carbon tax.

Labor claims the savings will be much smaller than claimed by the Coalition.

Labor’s numbers are on a cash basis. The Coalition’s figures are on a fiscal basis, which is exactly the same basis as the Government used when it first published these measures.

The Coalition costing has been provided by the PBO after the release of the Pre Election Economic and Fiscal outlook, and published on exactly the same basis as used by the Government in its Budget papers.

2. Low Income Superannuation Guarantee.

Labor claims the savings will be much smaller than claimed by the Coalition.

Labor’s numbers are on a cash basis. The Coalition’s figures are on a fiscal basis, in accordance with the standard treatment in Budget paper No 2.

The Coalition costing has been provided by the Parliamentary Budget Office after the release of the Pre Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

3. Small Business Instant Asset Write Off.

Labor claims the savings will be much smaller than claimed by the Coalition.

Labor’s numbers are on a cash basis. The Coalition’s figures are on a fiscal basis.

The Coalition costing has been provided by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

4. Other Carbon Measures.

Labor claims the savings will be much smaller than claimed by the Coalition.

Labor’s numbers are on a cash basis. The Coalition’s figures are on a fiscal basis.

The Coalition has not claimed a saving of $1.5 billion solely for the abolition of the CEFC. This Coalition saving includes a range of measures.

The saving has been provided by the PBO after the release of the Pre Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

5. Headcount Reduction of 12,000 over two years through natural attrition.

The Coalition costing has been provided by the PBO after the release of the Pre Election Economic and Fiscal outlook. This post-dates the advice from the Department of Finance and the PBO on which the government is making its claim.

Furthermore, the Government’s costing reflects quite different assumptions, as provided by Labor . It is plainly dishonest of the Government to assert that its figures represent a costing of the Coalition’s position.

Time for Labor to Explain Where the Money is Coming From

Prime Minister Rudd must now explain how he will fund his series of “thought bubble” promises of recent days and long-term promises on the never never, including:

Relocating garden island naval facilities to a more northern location, which the Defence White Paper costed at $6 billion.

East Coast High Speed rail, with nearly 2,000 kilometres of new high speed rail between Melbourne and Brisbane which the Government’s own report suggested would cost $114 billion.

Assistance for the Automotive Industry of $2 billion outside the forward estimates.

Melbourne Metro. The Government has promised $3 billion but, funding in the forward estimates is just $75 million.

WestConnex. The Government has promised $1.8 billion but, just $200 million is in the forward estimates.

A Company Tax Cut for the Northern Territory/Northern Australia which cannot be costed because the details change by the day.

New Growler Aircraft. The Government has promised to provide almost $3 billion over nine years from 2013-14 for the purchase of 12 Super Hornet Growler aircraft, with an additional $3.1 billion for personnel and operating costs to support this capability until 2029/30. There is only $200 million allocated in the budget within the forward estimates.

There is no hole in the Coalition’s costings.

The Government must explain how it will fund its budget black hole which has seen Labor’s Budget bottom line collapsing by $3 billion a week since the May Budget.

This Government should be judged on its record.

More lies.

More deficit.

More debt.

That is the Labor old way and it is the Labor New Way.

Media Contact: Tony Ritchie, 0407 002 704

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